(Part 176)


April 1, 2016

Today’s gospel:  John 21:1-14

Two days ago, we saw that the Bible and the Eucharist are essential elements of the New Evangelization, and that indeed we can only truly meet Christ and live Christ if we read and study the Bible and are nourished by the Eucharist. Now we also need to share Christ, that is, do the work of evangelization. But here is the critical reality: just as with the Bible and the Eucharist, we can only truly meet and live Christ as we share Christ, and experience the massive harvest that comes with authentic evangelization.

In today’s gospel, Peter and the disciples had fished but “caught nothing” (v.3). Jesus, whom they did not recognize, told them to cast their net again, and they caught a great number of fish (v.6). When this happened, John told Peter, “It is the Lord.” (v.7). Just as the disciples on the road to Emmaus had their hearts burning as Jesus explained the scriptures to them, just as they recognized him in the breaking of the bread, now the apostles recognized Jesus in the massive catch of fish.

Jesus called the apostles, and us, to be fishers of men. They already experienced a miraculous massive harvest of fish at the start of Jesus’ ministry. Now they were reminded of what they have been commissioned to be, through another spectacular display of God’s power. It was a rousing call to mission.

Today much of the Church, especially the laypeople, do not read the Bible, no longer go to Sunday Mass, and much less participate in the work of evangelization. Is it any wonder then that faith in Jesus is weak? Is it any wonder that we are losing Catholics by the day to the world, to sects and to cults? They do not really know Christ and the power of his resurrection.

The call to the New Evangelization has been sounded. The methodology of effective evangelization is according to the commission of Jesus and in the pattern of Pentecost. In this, the three crucial elements are the Bible, the Eucharist and the work of evangelization itself. Meet Christ in the Bible. Live Christ sustained by the Eucharist. Share Christ and experience the massive harvest the Lord intended from the very start.

After their massive catch, Jesus invited them to breakfast. “And none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they realized it was the Lord.” (v.12). Good for them. But what about most Catholics today? They would be much better off truly asking the Jesus who he is. And the answer is in the Bible, the Eucharist and in the massive harvest of authentic evangelization.

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